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The Best 50th Birthday Gift Ever

If you find yourself celebrating your 50th birthday any time in the near future, allow me to assist you in planning the occasion…

1. Order a birthday cake that only you love; not what your spouse or partner tells you they want, not your children’s favorite flavor and definitely not the cake that’s featured in the weekly ad at your closest supermarket.

2. Buy your favorite celebratory drink. It doesn’t necessarily have to contain liquor of any kind; it just has to be your favorite beverage among all beverages.

3. Pick out your new car. You don’t have to actually buy it or lease it. You just have to pick it out (including the model, color, interior accoutrements and special accessories). Do it online and save it. If you prefer walking around a dealership, go for it.

4. Call your doctor and schedule a colonoscopy.

Why a colonoscopy? Easy. This quick, painless procedure can identify anything nasty that’s lurking around in your colon, remove it right during the test and stop these pesky little things from turning into cancer cells and tumors. That makes a colonoscopy one of the best gifts you’ll ever give yourself (and those who love you).

The actual definition of a colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon). He or she uses a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope to look at the colon. A colonoscopy helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding.”

If your test shows no polyps or tumors you may get a ten-year hiatus until you have to schedule the next one. If the doc finds a polyp, you may need to return in five years. The best news about this whole medical procedure is that it’s proven to stem colon cancer at its very origin and most insurance policies cover the cost if the patient is 50 years of age or older.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re not worried about the test, but preparation for the test is something older friends and relatives have told you is downright horrible. Well, think of these stories as old wives tales. The information may have been true many years ago but, like everything else in healthcare, the clearing of the colon has become far easier and less uncomfortable. Really.

The most important part of prepping for the teast is to bring a sparkling clean colon. Without one, you won’t get the best results and, more importantly, the physician will not perform the procedure. Prepping takes about half a day. Follow the simple instructions from your doctor’s office on what to eat, when to stop eating and how to take the prep pills or liquids for the test. It’s not painful. It just clears you out so the tiny scope can see what’s in there (and what’s not).

When the procedure is over, you’ll feel good (physically and emotionally) and congratulate yourself for getting this off your grown-up To Do List. We all know it’s on the list. Most of us just keep moving it to the bottom (no pun intended) instead of dealing with it.

A good friend of mine went for a routine colonoscopy and the excellent physician who performed the exam found the most infinitesimal lung nodule. It was the ultimate beginning of what could have grown into full-blown lung cancer. But a week later, the nodule was removed and my dear pal is now 22 years older (and enjoying every minute of life).

Oh…and just in case you’re wondering why I added No. 3 – the new car step of your birthday celebration plans – there are two reasons. The first is that I really do that every year because I really love everything about new cars (especially the smell and sound systems). The other reason is I really wanted you to get to No. 4 and pay attention.

How about you? How has a colonoscopy or other preliminary medical test saved your health or life? Please share your story in the Comments section. Our readers (and I) will thank you! 

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Lee Ann Monfredini

Lee Ann Monfredini

Lee Ann Monfredini is the founder of 360Women and a life-long advocate of women’s issues, political activism, social volunteerism, organizational accountability and personal responsibility. A graduate of the University of San Francisco with a degree in Non-Profit Management, she’s not only served on the boards and executive teams of some of the most respected health organizations in the Bay Area, but built a successful second career as one of the most respected realtors in the market. She can be reached at leeann@360women.net.

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